Kind of empty in the way it sees everything, the earth gets to its feet and salutes the sky. More of a success at it this time than most others it is. The feeling that the sky might be in the back of someone's mind. Then there is no telling how many there are. They grace everything--bush and tree--to take the roisterer's mind off his caroling--so it's like a smooth switch back. To what was aired in their previous conniption fit. There is so much to be seen everywhere that it's like not getting used to it, only there is so much it never feels new, never any different. You are standing looking at that building and you cannot take it all in, certain details are already hazy and the mind boggles. What will it all be like in five years' time when you try to remember? Will there have been boards in between the grass part and the edge of the street? As long as that couple is stopping to look in that window over there we cannot go. We feel like they have to tell us we can, but they never look our way and they are already gone, gone far into the future--the night of time. If we could look at a photograph of it and say there they are, they never really stopped but there they are. There is so much to be said, and on the surface of it very little gets said. There ought to be room for more things, for a spreading out, like. Being immersed in the details of rock and field and slope --letting them come to you for once, and then meeting them halfway would be so much easier--if they took an ingenuous pride in being in one's blood. Alas, we perceive them if at all as those things that were meant to be put aside-- costumes of the supporting actors or voice trilling at the end of a narrow enclosed street. You can do nothing with them. Not even offer to pay. It is possible that finally, like coming to the end of a long, barely perceptible rise, there is mutual cohesion and interaction. The whole scene is fixed in your mind, the music all present, as though you could see each note as well as hear it. I say this because there is an uneasiness in things just now. Waiting for something to be over before you are forced to notice it. The pollarded trees scarcely bucking the wind--and yet it's keen, it makes you fall over. Clabbered sky. Seasons that pass with a rush. After all it's their time too--nothing says they aren't to make something of it. As for Jenny Wren, she cares, hopping about on her little twig like she was tryin' to tell us somethin', but that's just it, she couldn't even if she wanted to--dumb bird. But the others--and they in some way must know too--it would never occur to them to want to, even if they could take the first step of the terrible journey toward feeling somebody should act, that ends in utter confusion and hopelessness, east of the sun and west of the moon. So their comment is: "No comment." Meanwhile the whole history of probabilities is coming to life, starting in the upper left-hand corner, like a sail.
John Ashbery - 1927-2017
Instead of Losing
Anyone, growing up in a space you hadn't used yet would've done the same: bother the family's bickering to head straight into the channel. My, those times crackled near about us, from sickly melodrama instead of losing, and the odd confusion...confusion. I thought of it then, and in the mountains. During the day we perforated the eponymous city limits and then some. No one knew all about us but some knew plenty. It was time to leave that town for an empty drawer into which they sailed. Some of the eleven thousand virgins were getting queasy. I say, stop the ship! No can do. Here come the bald arbiters with their eyes on chains, just so, like glasses. Heck, it's only a muskrat that's seen better years, when things were medieval and gold... So you people in the front, leave. You see them. And you understand it all. It doesn't end, night's sorcery notwithstanding. Would you have preferred to be a grownup in earlier times than the child can contain or imagine? Or is right now the answer—you know, the radio we heard news on late at night, our checkered fortunes so pretty. Here's your ton of plumes, and your Red Seal Records. The whole embrace.